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Honoring Excellence

On Wednesday night we celebrated the good work and tremendous impact that local nonprofit organizations have on our community by shining a spotlight on agency leaders and boards of directors who do an outstanding job of furthering their missions. And in keeping with the high regard we have for these people, we asked Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise Alliance, to come to Charlottesville to speak about the importance of nonprofits working together to advance the common good.

You could have heard a pin drop as Mrs. Powell spoke to an audience of more than 200 nonprofit and business leaders, staff and volunteers at the United Way Awards of Excellence dinner at the Boar’s Head Inn’s new Pavilion. Her passion for helping our youth and her deeply held conviction that helping our young people succeed should be our most urgent priority came through clearly, though delivered in soft and measured tones that held us rapt.

Leonard Sandridge introduced the Excellence in Nonprofit Board Governance nominees: Children, Youth & Family Services, Piedmont CASA and WorkSource Enterprises. The 2009 award was presented to Piedmont CASA’s board of directors, and was graciously accepted by their chair, Louise Dudley. Many thanks to Virginia National Bank for underwriting the award, which includes a $2,500 donation to the honoree organization, plus $500 to each finalist.

Up next was the Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership award, presented by Jim Haden, and Underwritten by Hantzmon Wiebel, with the same donation amounts going to those organizations. Finalists were Alex Gulotta, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Justice Center, Charles (Chuck) McElroy of WorkSource Enterprises, and Erika Viccellio of the Charlottesville Free Clinic. Chuck McElroy was honored with this year’s award, and gave a wonderful heartfelt speech about his organization, its staff, volunteers and clients.

Thank you also to State Farm Insurance for underwriting the event. It was their corporate support of America’s Promise Alliance that helped us bring Mrs. Powell to Charlottesville. We hope we will see her here again.

Both Leonard and Jim commented on how hard it was for the review panels to choose among the nominees as all do great work. We hope that last night served to honor them all.

Posted by Kim Connolly.




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